Memorial Day Open Thread

There are all kinds of veterans to remember today!

Don’t forget our furry heroes!

This an open thread.

I thought I’d post this picture of my mom and dad.  My dad is a veteran of World War 2. He was a bombardier for the 8th Air Force–although it was the Army Air Corps when he joined– and was stationed in Northern England.  He once flew under the command of Jimmy Stewart.  He said he sounded just like he did in the movies. He flew missions over Northern Europea in B-17s.  Anyway, he’s nearly 90 and will finally share his war stories with us after years of not wanting to talk about it.  I took him to the WW2 Museum here in New Orleans on his last visit.  He really liked that.  There’s very few of his crew left but they all remained in contact with each other until the day they died. He’s a young lieutenant in this photo.  I’m going to have to get him to remember exactly when it was taken but that’s by the front porch of my grandparent’s house.  I’m posting this in remembrance of all his buddies that are no longer able to reminisce with Dad.  I keep asking him to give me all his stuff–including their pictures and logs–so I can put them in the WW2 museum documents library.  We all will never forget their service.

So, if you have any one you’d like to remember, please post their picture or a remembrance!

UPDATE by Boston Boomer: Here’s a photo of my Dad in his National Guard uniform. I couldn’t figure out how to put it in a comment, so I took the liberty of putting it here. I hope Dak won’t mind. The little girl is my cousin. He was really young. He lied about his age to get into the Guard so he could use the money for college. Dad didn’t meet my mom till after the war and returned to school.

This must have been taken before Dad left for Louisiana for training. His National Guard regiment, the 164th, was the first army regiment to be shipped out after Pearl Harbor. They went right to Guadalcanal to support the Marines who were stranded there with diminishing supplies. They were down to one meal a day by the time Dad’s unit got there. I think Ralph’s father was one of those marines.

When the bombs were dropped my Dad was on the way to Japan. Ironically, I might never have been born except for the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

I miss my dad so much. He died on March 11, 2010. He was almost 88.


62 Comments on “Memorial Day Open Thread”

  1. northwestrain says:

    HuffPo has a bunch of photos of dogs welcoming their people home. Nice touch for the M day. There is one photo of a huge super sized Great Dane with his paws on his person’s shoulders in a joyful welcome home. THAT is a big dog.

    One thing about so many military families — we had pets. All of my friends had dogs and/or cats. Our pets traveled from base to base — and the dogs do give super big welcome home to the returning parent.

  2. dakinikat says:

    Here’s a PBS special on what happens to Military Working Dogs when they retire.

    • NW Luna says:

      That War Dogs Memorial statue looks like a Dobie. I grew up with Dobies as family dogs; they were so affectionate and companionable to us, and protective. My dad was in WWII; never talked about his service. Now I wonder if they had Dobermans as enlisted canines in the units he served in, and that’s why he wanted them.

      That’s great that your father will speak about some of his WWII experiences now, Kat, and that there are pictures and other mementos.

  3. Purrrrrfect post, Kat. Love the pic of your dad…what a handsome couple!

    • dakinikat says:

      They are about my youngest daughter’s age in this photo. It’s amazing to think of them both that young.

    • Love this post Kat, and I love the photo of your dad. It is good that he will tell stories now, record him talking if you can, it is wonderful to be able and go back and listen to them.

  4. Two important reads this Memorial Day: | “Is it possible that a day will come when warfare will be history, instead of news — when there’ll be a memorial day not only for those who sacrificed, but for war itself?”

    And, from Joyce–a Must-Read as always: | Memorial Day: Remembering the Past While Forgetting the Present

    • northwestrain says:

      Well there are the drones — and after each kill we hear about x number of bad guys killed and later we learn about the collateral damage. Dead kids.

      As long as there is a military industrial complex wars will continue.

      Sorry to be such a grump — but my dad joined the Navy at the beginning of WWII and stayed in through a large chunk of the Vietnam war. He was a cold war warrior — and we thought that when the cold war was “won” that there would be a peace dividend. That didn’t happen.

      Perhaps when Wall Street and the gambling bankers bankrupt the whole world — every single Nation — there will be no more money to spend on wars?? Or the really rich will finance their ego wars?? I read scifi and the world looks rather bleak out there in the future with pockets of peace.

      It is far too easy to whip the masses into a war mob.

      At the same time — I hope I’m wrong. I’m hoping humans aren’t just brainless frogs in a cooking pot.

      • northwestrain says:

        NOTE — Wonk’s link went to Taylor Marsh’s website — and I don’t go there EVER.

      • Well I link to Taylor all the time. I’ve guest-blogged there, though haven’t lately…but anyhow Joyce has been my co-blogger there and she’s absolutely fantastic and prolific on blogging LGBT and other human rights issues and always asking the critical questions about our oligarchy. And, Taylor herself–whatever you think of her choice to back Obama in after the primaries–is well worth the daily read.

      • northwestrain says:

        Taylor’s behavior four years ago was mean and rude. So I just avoid people like her who turn on their readership. Lots of people left — and never returned. Her blog was a refuge from the Orange monster or Du — until she allowed the bullies to take over.

        I’m glad she is doing well — and that she finds content. But once burned — always wary of folks like the Taylors of the world.

        I just like to know where the links go — but I understand why tiny links are used.

        My comment wasn’t against you personally — but rather as a warning to others who had bad experiences at Taylor’s last engagement. I don’t trust any thing she writes.

        However — I must credit her with exposing 0bama’s shady mansion purchase. With the links to the ABC story and then my own digging and reading I realized that her first assessment of the 0bamas was on target. So she isn’t all bad — she just wants to make a living and investigative journalism probably doesn’t pay the bills. Her early work was really good.

  5. Beata says:

    Love the picture and story about your father, Dak. He and your mother make a beautiful couple!

    The discussion of Elizabeth Warren’s Native American heritage has made me think about my own Choctaw grandmother and her two brothers. They were raised in Oklahoma by their grandmother after their mother died of TB at an early age. My great-uncles both served in the 142nd Infantry of the 36th Texas – Oklahoma National Guard during WWI, along with about 600 other Oklahoma Cherokee and Choctaw men. It was from this WWI regiment that the Choctaw “code-talkers” emerged. From what I understand, the Cherokee and Choctaw were not even considered US citizens during WWI, yet they served their country with distinction.

    I have some wonderful pictures of my great-uncles in their uniforms but no way to post them. Very handsome guys, though!

    • bostonboomer says:

      Dak or JJ could post them for you. You would have to e-mail the photos. If you want me to I can send you an address.

    • Woman Voter says:

      The Navajo Code Talkers, Our Heroes
      This was shown in the House of Representatives at the Arizona State Capital during the Navajo Code Talker Monument dedication on Feb 28, 2008.

      (The code was never broken and turned the course of WWII)

    • Woman Voter says:


      I found it and well it made me tear up as they were not treated justly.
      Native American Code Talkers.wmv

      World War I: Cherokee, Cheyenne, Choctaw (15), Comanche, Osage, Yankton Sioux

      World War II: Assiniboine, Cherokee, Chippewa/Oneida (17), Choctaw, Comanche (17), Hopi (11), Kiowa, Menominee, Muscogee/Creek and Seminole, Navajo (about 420), Pawnee, Sac and Fox/Meskwaki (19), Sioux — Lakota and Dakota dialects. if i have left out any tribes my appologies

      How did the U.S. gov’t reward these gallant Native American Navajo Indians? They were denied all their G.I. benefits under the G.I. Bill that covered all other veterans! The governments excuse: Because the Navajo Indians live on the Indian Reservation they are occupying Federal land. Therefore, that “somehow” nullifies their G.I. Bill of Rights.

    • Beata says:

      If anyone is interested, here is a history of the Choctaw Code Talkers in WWI:

  6. ecocatwoman says:

    What a lovely couple your parents were. My parents were married when my dad enlisted, and mom helped build war planes at the NCR plant during the war, while raising my older brother. My dad’s Army regiment helped liberate one of the Nazi concentration camps. My mom told me of the horrors he saw in the camp.

    Found these sites about military dogs:,,,,, and Apparently President Clinton signed a bill in November, 2000 that allows for the adoption of former military dogs, but according to the link to the MSN story, many of the dogs are not making it into the adoption program.

  7. northwestrain says:

    Here is one for BB — Mittens doesn’t love MA. I did not know that Mittens left office with aa 34% approval ranking.

    It is a very long way until November — people don’t know Romney yet — But he has a record to run against. He is anti Union — so that sinks him in my state.

    • bostonboomer says:

      He was a horrible governor. He was extremely unpopular. As I’ve written several times, his record on jobs was so bad that we actually lost population from people leaving the state to find work. He would have run for reelection if he thought he had a chance of winning, but he had no shot. He spent most of his time as governor working toward running for president.

      • Seriously says:

        And the writing was on the wall before he ever ran, he was jockeying for position and bopping around between Michigan, Utah, and Massachusetts in order to decide which offered the best chance for him to win. If that doesn’t say I couldn’t care less about governing, I’ll be using you as a stepping stone to higher office, I don’t know what does. If he hadn’t double-benefitted from Massachusetts’ women problem, I don’t think he would have had a prayer of being taken seriously.

        Love all of your pictures, amazing.

      • northwestrain says:

        I’d read articles about Gov. Mittens by the Boston press which seemed to be “there he goes again” type of articles. After living in MA for a couple of years (Dukakis era) I was shock when Mittens was elected. But then again MA has elected some very strange fellows. One gov. was in jail or something when he was elected. But then the state was stupid and voted for Raygun in ’84.

        Many of the problems we are seeing today are the result of Raygun policies — and now the jerk has been turned into a saint. 0bama wrote a glowing article about St. Raygun.

        I was in California when Raygun was Gov — and I saw how really bad he was for the state. CA has gone downhill since Raygun gutted so much of the state and he went on to do the same for the Nation.

        Mittens would be worse than Raygun — and that’s saying a lot.

  8. bostonboomer says:

    I uploaded a photo of my dad in his National Guard uniform, before he went down to Louisiana for training. He was really young. He lied about his age to get in so he could use the money to pay for college. But then he was called up immediately after Pearl Harbor. His unit was the first to be shipped out and see action. I’m not sure how to put the photo in a comment. I’ll try to figure it out.

  9. Here is my mother’s father and mother, my Nano and Nana…He was a mechanic in WWII for the Air Corp, and like your dad Kat, he was stationed in England too. He worked to the B-17’s. ** corrections of my story are here:

    • bostonboomer says:

      What a sweet couple! She’s so pretty.

      • NW Luna says:

        He looks so earnest, and that he’s proud of his pretty wife — who herself looks compassionate and happy. Aww.

    • dakinikat says:

      Wow … he may have worked on a plane for my dad. My dad said the day after the war ended the took up all the ground crews for flights to see what the flight crews had been doing during the war. Then they all flew the airplanes to Iceland then to California for other crews to fly them to the Pacific theatre. The bombs stopped my dad’s from being called back up to the Pacific. He had flown more than enough missions to be decommissioned and put into the national guard but they were going to have to gear up for another D-Day if the bombs didn’t do what they were supposed to do so he had been put on notice.

      • He was in England when the bombing runs were going over Germany, then he was sent to France, and was in Paris for the Liberation. My other grandfather was in the Pacific, in Guadalcanal, and Peleliu. He came back in very bad shape and was in the VA hospital for over 18 months. He died of a massive heart attack at the age of 36.

      • Beata says:

        So JJ’s grandfather may have met Dak’s father? What a small world!

      • It would be good to have those stories Kat, so that you can pass them down to your daughters. It is good to know what and where you come from…and not to forget about it.

      • northwestrain says:

        Could be that my uncles served with DAK’s dad as well. My mom worked in the air plane factories — just like 0bama’s grandmother — both were born and raised Kansas women. So many women of that era went out and did men’s jobs and did them well. My parents met after the war — and continued the military life until the late 60s.

        In the post WWII years most of the military wives had been working women — holding all sorts of jobs and professions. Concert pianist, Veterinarian, lots of the women worked in the aircraft and war industry factories. The the war ended and they were forced out of the workforce. The message wasn’t subtle — sexism rarely is subtle.

    • northwestrain says:

      Fiber artist here — she has a knitted top under that blouse/jacket. I love seeing the clothes of that era. Many of the knitting and crochet styles are being recycled and updated for the modern yarns. I wonder if she knitted that top herself?

  10. Beata says:

    My aunt was a nurse in the South Pacific during WWII. She got some kind of “jungle fever” that caused her lasting health problems but she is still alive at age 90. I have pictures of her in uniform, too.

    • bostonboomer says:


      My mother’s older sister was a nurse in WWII also. She will be 90 in September. She went to Washington DC last year when they were honoring WWII veterans. They got tours of all the memorials.

      Maybe your aunt met my Dad in the Pacfic!! He had a really bad case of malaria when he came home.

      • Beata says:

        My aunt probably nursed your father when he became ill. I bet they fell madly in love. But, alas, my aunt was already married. 🙂

        I’d love to email some photos but I have no way to upload them. I don’t have a workable printer / scanner.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Oh, that’s too bad. I’d love to see the pictures.

  11. Hey, my mom is correcting me big time, so here is the real story.

    My maternal grandfather was a machinist on the B-17, but he was not in France during the Liberation. He was stationed in England, only we do not know what base he was stationed on. The photo I remember from France was after the liberation. She is telling me that he and the other machinist would make bets as to who could fix the planes, that he had to make the parts for the planes as they came in from bombing missions. He was 32 when he was drafted…not 36.

    My dad’s father was in the New Guinea Liberation, and he got a bronze star for that battle.

    I got confused about who was in Peleliu, my uncle was in Peleilu and he got a purple heart.

    My other uncle was a boxer, he literally fought his way through WWII. (Remember the movie From Here to Eternity?)

    I had one uncle who was a medic in Europe and one who was paratrooper in Europe.

    Like your dad Kat, no one would talk about it. There was an article from back then about my maternal grandfathers family, all the brothers survived the war. Five went to war and five survived.

    And as for my dad, was in the Navy during the Vietnam war.

    So that is all the corrections! Now I got it, right Ma?

    • northwestrain says:

      Where in the Navy? By the time the Vietnam war heated up my dad was on an aircraft carrier in the territorial waters of Vietnam. That was his next to the last assignment before he retired. My maternal uncles were in the army WWII and paternal uncles were in the Navy.

      • dakinikat says:

        My Uncle (dad’s bro) was in the Navy in the Pacific. He was part of the engineering group that went into the islands and made places to land boats and roads and bridges and things. I carried his navy duffel bag to university oddly enough.

        My other uncle (mom’s bro) was in Army Intelligence and was stationed at the Pentagon. He made Roosevelt’s legal case to inter the American Japanese immigrants. He had graduated first in his class at Harvard Law school and they pulled him almost directly into the Pentagon. He also worked on code breaking things. He was a brilliant man but couldn’t do one thing practical at all. I heard my dad ask him later why they did that since it was so obviously a violation of civil liberties. My dad said Roosevelt told him they just didn’t know and they didn’t feel they could risk it. My husband was born on a air force base in Japan after the war. His father was there rebuilding Japanese schools when he met his mother.

      • NW Luna says:

        The internment of American citizens with Japanese ancestry during WWII was a hugely shameful action. On the West Coast it disrupted so many people’s lives. Businesses were lost, students forced to leave university, homes lost. Sad. I know more than a few Nissei (2nd-generation Japanese-Americans) who decided to pursue law and politics to try prevent that sort of atrocity in the future.

    • bostonboomer says:

      My dad never talked about it either. Just the last couple of years before he died I was able to get him to tell me some things. And my brother interviewed my dad on film a few years before that. My brother made a beautiful film about my dad’s war experiences from the interview and some historical footage that he located.